Old Pueblo Academy

Types of Essays for High School

When going through high school, you will be given essay assignments that have different focuses. It’s important for you to get familiar with the different essay types to excel your high school life. Below are a few most common types of essays you may encounter during high school:

Expository Essay

An expository essay gives instructions or directions about completing a particular task, or how something can be done.

Example topics:

  • How to snow ski
  • How to win an argument
  • How to juggle school and work
  • How to make new friends

Cause and Effect Essay

A cause and effect essay focuses on a situation or situation and explores the reasons (the cause) and results (the effect) of a particular action.

Example topics:

  • The causes and effects for poor grades
  • The effects of staying up too late
  • The causes and effects of teen depression

Definition Essay

A definition essay defines a particular topic both concretely (definition by dictionary) and abstractly (extended definition).

Example topics:

  • Best friends (what they are and what they are not)
  • Snobs (what they are and how they can be recognized in society)
  • Courage (how it is shown by ordinary people in their everyday life)

Comparison or Contrast Essay

A comparison or contrast essay usually shows the similarities as well as differences between two particular topics (people, places, ideas, objects, etc.)

Example topics:

  • Two friends you have
  • Two movies with similar situations or characteristics
  • Compare “knowledge” and “understanding”
  • An American car and a foreign car

Argumentative Essay or Pro/Con Essay

In an argumentative essay, you present your personal opinions on a particular subject. In a pro/con essay, your arguments are based on understanding and reasoning.

When composing an argumentative or pro/con essay, you need to:

  • Present objections and refute them
  • Present points to support your position.

Example topics:

  • Should everyone go to college?
  • Should women serve in the military?
  • Should students have a part time job while in school?
  • Should there be censorship on TV?

Literary Analysis Essay

A literary analysis essay usually focuses on the observation of a story, book, play, or poem, etc.

Example topics:

  • How the conflict in a literary work is more external than internal
  • How symbolism play an important role in a literary work
  • The complicated relationship of two characters

Character Analysis Essay

A character analysis essay usually focuses on the observation of a character in a literary work.

Example topics:

  • Describe the main character in a literary work
  • Why does XYZ’s personality lead her to despair?
  • What are the dominant character traits of XYZ in a literary work

From simple essays to complex dissertations:

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